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The primary medical care practitioners attitudes toward psychiatry

, : The primary medical care practitioners attitudes toward psychiatry. Social Science & Medicine 16(15): 1413-1420

General practitioners [GP] are important to the delivery of mental health care because they perform 3 important functions, as an identifier, as a referral agent and as a caregiver. The importance of the attitudes G.P. hold on their performance of 2 of these functions, screening and referrng was investigated. Relying on items developed in previous investigations, 4 measures of attitudinal dimensions were developed using factor analysis: belief in psychogenesis. psychiatric fatalism, referral reluctance and G.P. as caregiver. These attitude dimensions were then related to the functions of screening and referral. Three major findings emerged from the results. The attitudinal dimensions uncovered were empirically distinct, suggesting that no single pro-to-anti psychiatry was present. Attitudes played a role in the screening of cases. A G.P. was more likely to identify cases if he believes in the psychogenesis of physical disorders and was not concerned that identification and referral would lead to negative consequences for the patient. Attitudes did not play a strong role in the referral of cases once they were identified as such. The findings are presented and interpreted by referring to the sensitive position G.P. occupy between the public and the psychiatrist.

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